As if things weren’t bad enough — coronavirus, suffering economy — Pike County will need to buy new voting machines at an estimated cost of $500,000, Circuit Clerk Roger Graves told supervisors Thursday.

County-owned machines were damaged in a 2016 electrical outage and are currently in storage at a cost of $100 a month. The county leases voting machines for $25,000 a year, but they’re getting old and need repairs, Graves said.

The “next line” of machines can provide touch-screen voting and a paper ballot that the voter casts.

“This would give us something for the voter to look at before they deposit it in a scanner,” Graves said.

Election commission chair Trudy Berger said the county will likely get an estimated $65,000 in Help America Vote Act funds and a similar amount from the coronavirus CARES Act, though she’s not sure if CARES money can be used for voting machines.

The county currently has $78,000 that can be used for voting machines as well, Graves said.

After that discussion, Graves and election commissioners met with supervisors in executive session to discuss litigation.

In 2018 supervisors filed suit against Entergy and their own insurance administrator for more than a half-million dollars as the result of a short circuit that led to the power outage at election headquarters and damaged voting machines.

In other business Thursday, supervisors:

• Authorized AT&T to bury fiber optic cable along Airport-Fernwood Road.

• Agreed to buy a $775 quarter-page ad in the Enterprise-Journal Discover magazine.

• Noted the resignation of William H. Johnson from the road department.

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